Tyler Nelson, son of Scott and Colette Nelson of Youngsville and Mark and Kelly Dailey of Forest City, N.C., was recently featured in an article by Allison Flynn in the Daily Courier in Forest City. Tyler lived in Youngsville until seventh grade when he moved with his mother to North Carolina.
Nelson was the only high school student invited to the Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate Computational Chemistry (MERCURY) conference at Bucknell University in July. He is a Rutherford Early College High (REaCH) school senior
He was invited because of a research project he completed through an online computational chemistry class he took through the North Carolina School of Science and Math last fall, according to the Courier article. Computational chemistry, he explained, uses computers to assist in solving chemical problems before experiments are taken to a lab.
"At the completion of the course the professor wanted a research project," Nelson told the Courier. "I wanted to do more than just a research project, so I began calling universities to see if they had computational chemistry departments."
According to the article, he found one at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and was partnered with a graduate student in the chemistry department to work on a project. Nelson's project was on automated docking of modafinil into 5-Hydroxytrytamine receptor using semi-empirical free energy forcefield and Lamarckian Genetic Algorithm.
Nelson spent three months on the project, which is a piece of a larger research project being conducted at UNC-A, he said. Nelson's professor at the N.C. School of Science and Math contacted him and asked if he'd like to attend the conference to present his project.
While there, Nelson heard from keynote speakers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania.
Nelson has not chosen a college but is considering the University of Pittsburgh, N.C. State University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is applying for the Morehead-Cain Scholarship.
"I want to be a pediatric neurosurgeon, because I really like kids," Nelson told the Courier. Nelson will graduate from REaCH in May.